Paramus, New Jersey Indian Paresh Patel (59) pleaded guilty on March 11, 2020 to obstructing a federal investigation into bid rigging and fraud in connection with contracts awarded by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), NY for Superstorm Sandy-related subway repairs.
Paresh Patel MTA Bid Rigging Case Background
Paresh Patel was a manager at MTA, NY in charge of supervising superstorm Sandy-related subway repair projects.
Along with another MTA employee, Paresh Patel set up a private company Satkirti Consulting Engineering in June 2014 in the names of their children and then transferred the ownership to a friend without engineering background.
Besides transferring the ownership to a person without engineering technical background, Paresh Patel recruited another employee who was a Pizza cook & delivery person working at a Pizzeria owned by him.
And, Satkirti Consulting Engineering was awarded a contract in February 2015 as a subcontractor on the Joralemon Tube subway rehabilitation project that was supervised by Paresh Patel.
While overseeing the MTA project implementation, Paresh Patel was simultaneously supervising Satkirti employees by concealing his invlovement.
And, Paresh Patel, upon learning about an investigation into the Satkirti bidding contract he was overseeing at MTA, deleted e-mails, persuaded others to destroy evidence and encouraged witnesses to lie to authorites.
According to documents filed and statements made in court:
In order to manage necessary subway rehabilitation work following Superstorm Sandy in 2013, the MTA awarded construction management contracts for managers to oversee post-Sandy subway projects. To prevent self-dealing and the appearance of corruption, the MTA maintains rules relating to conflicts of interest. The rules provide that MTA employees are barred from participating in the selection, award, or administration of a contract if the employee, his or her family member, or an organization that employs the employee or one of the employee’s family members has a financial interest in any of the companies that propose or bid on, or are awarded, such a contract.
PATEL was a program manager at the MTA and was responsible for awarding contracts and exercising oversight of Superstorm Sandy-related subway repairs. In June 2014, PATEL and another MTA employee set up an engineering consulting firm named Satkirti Consulting Engineering LLC (“Satkirti”). Because MTA rules prohibited them from having an interest in such a company, PATEL and the other employee registered Satkirti in the names of their children, and then transferred the ownership to a friend of PATEL who played no substantive role in the management of Satkirti. In February 2015, Satkirti was awarded a contract as a subcontractor on the Joralemon Tube subway rehabilitation project, which project PATEL would oversee in his role at the MTA. Although the technical employees of Satkirti who sought and carried out the subcontract were PATEL’s friend, who had no background or qualifications in engineering, and a second individual who PATEL recruited from a pizzeria owned by PATEL, PATEL directed the operations of Satkirti and its employees while concealing his involvement with the company. Among other things, PATEL created a company email account for Satkirti, and instructed Satkirti’s employees about what to write in emails. On many occasions, PATEL instructed Satkirti’s employees not to mention PATEL’s name and reminded them that PATEL was not supposed to be involved in the operation of Satkirti.
In the spring of 2016, MTA-OIG launched an investigation, later joined by the DOT-OIG and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, into the contract that was awarded to Satkirti. MTA-OIG served subpoenas and conducted interviews with individuals involved in Satkirti, many of whom made false statements about their and PATEL’s involvement in the company. After MTA-OIG began serving subpoenas, PATEL told one of Satkirti’s employees to delete from his personal email account all emails with PATEL. On November 16, 2016, after federal investigators began serving grand jury subpoenas, PATEL deleted the Satkirti company email account, which contained records of Satkirti’s business and evidence that would have connected PATEL to Satkirti. Over the course of the MTA-OIG and federal investigation, at the request of PATEL, several individuals questioned by investigators also concealed and lied about PATEL’s involvement in Satkirti.
On one count of obstruction of justice guilty plea, Paresh Patel faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Paramus, NJ Indian, Paresh Patel previously surrendered to federal authorities on February 18, 2020.
The sentencing date of Paresh Patel is pending and will be scheduled at a later date.